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Stars, Senators desperate to end losing streaks

by Brian Hunter

SENATORS (28-28-13) at STARS (32-26-11)


Last 10: Ottawa 2-6-2; Dallas 4-5-1

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Ottawa Senators and Dallas Stars. Jamie Benn had the decisive shootout goal when Dallas won 4-3 in Ottawa on Nov. 3.

Big story: Each team has a losing streak it wants to end. Time is ticking away on the season for the Senators, whose five-game skid (0-3-2) has them in dire straits. The Stars held the Western Conference's second wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs not long ago, but they haven't won in four games (0-3-1) and now trail the Phoenix Coyotes by four points.

Team Scope:

Senators: Since veteran goalie Craig Anderson left a March 10 game against the Nashville Predators in the third period with a shoulder injury, Ottawa hasn't tasted victory. Robin Lehner took the loss in overtime that night and has given up 18 goals on 126 shots (.857 save percentage) in four starts since.

The frustrating part for the Senators is that they're scoring goals -- they've put four on the board in three of the past four defeats. Forward Ales Hemsky has come as advertised after being picked up from the Edmonton Oilers at the NHL Trade Deadline, including a highlight-reel goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, but the defense and goaltending haven't held up their end of the bargain.

"We get successful when we're tighter in our game and maybe we don't need to score five goals," Lehner said in the Ottawa Citizen. "Maybe we should work on our defense and win with smaller numbers."

Stars: One night after its game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was postponed due to the collapse of forward Rich Peverley on the bench, Dallas recorded a key overtime win at the St. Louis Blues. But the Stars haven't picked up two points in a game since.

Three of their next four games are at American Airlines Center, all against opponents not occupying a playoff spot. Goalie Kari Lehtonen, who had gotten on a roll before getting injured March 8 against the Minnesota Wild and gave up five goals in his return on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, could get the call after Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 29 shots in a 4-2 loss Thursday to the Philadelphia Flyers.

"It's definitely frustrating," defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "Every game is getting closer and closer to playoff time and every game is getting more and more important. Every point that we either give away or we get, it's that time of year where every key point is needed."

Who's hot: Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has one goal and six assists during a five-game point streak. Forward Jason Spezza has two goals and nine assists in the past six games. Forward Milan Michalek has goals in consecutive games. … Stars forward Tyler Seguin has six goals and eight assists during a seven-game point streak. Forward Jamie Benn, who had both goals against the Flyers, has six goals and four assists in the past seven games.

Injury report: Anderson (shoulder) and goalie Nathan Lawson (lower body) are day-to-day for Ottawa. … Dallas forward Shawn Horcoff (upper body) is out indefinitely. Peverley (heart) will miss the rest of the season.

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